VirtualVallarta.com’s Guide to Getting Out of Town
Published Jul 16, 2014 -
Don’t get us wrong! We love Banderas Bay and all the wonderful things our region has to offer, so we want you to spend as much time as possible here. But we know that sooner or later, you may be intrigued about what lies beyond—and more importantly, how to get there. Here is a quick rundown of available options. For your convenience, links on the text either point to actual locations on Google Maps, bus companies, or more detailed information within VirtualVallarta.com. Feel free to explore them at your leisure!
Within/Around Banderas Bay
Travel within the bay can be accomplished through several companies that provide public bus service to points north, east and south. If you wish to head to the North Shore, Auto Transportes Medina has several departures from the Walmart parking lot—across from the Maritime Terminal (next to Vip’s)—that head toward Punta de Mita. If you wish to explore further north, the Compostela-Pacífico buses depart from the same spot, serving Sayulita, San Pancho and continuing north all the way to Rincón de Guayabitos.
Folks looking to explore the mountains can rely on Autobuses Guadalajara Talpa Mascota. They have their depot in Colonia Versalles (corner of Havre and Lucerna Sts.) and provide daily service to San Sebastián del Oeste (La Estancia), Mascota and Talpa. Their service continues all the way to Guadalajara, but if you wish to explore Jalisco State’s capital, there are faster, more comfortable options (see below).
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens and other communities in Puerto Vallarta’s South Shore can be reached by taking a bus at the corner of V. Carranza and Aguacate, in Colonia Emiliano Zapata. These suburban buses (managed by a company called Servicios Coordinados) are clearly marked and continue all the way to Tuito in Cabo Corrientes. If you are going no further than Boca de Tomatlán (to take a water taxi to Yelapa or Las Animas, for example) you can take a bus at the corner of Basilio Badillo and Constitución (next to the Oxxo), also in Colonia Emiliano Zapata.
Beyond Banderas Bay—By Land
Puerto Vallarta’s Bus Terminal provides first-class bus travel to all points accessible from Vallarta-Nayarit. In addition, aware of increasing demand, some of the major bus companies have recently invested in their own terminals in Nuevo Vallarta, making it easier for folks in the northern half of the bay to make connections. Guadalajara and Mexico City are served via non-stop departures by Primera Plus and ETN, the latter offering luxury class service. Both companies allow connections in Guadalajara to other cities, including Colima, Guanajuato, Leon and Querétaro, often without even having to switch buses. Points north beyond Nayarit (Mazatlán for example) can be reached via TAP, while points south such as Melaque, can be reached via Primera Plus.
Beyond Banderas Bay—By Air
Although regional air travel through Mexico is not as affordable as traveling within the United States or Canada, there are several options available, many of which increase during the Summer months, as many Mexican families consider a well-deserved vacation while their children are away from school. Vallarta-Nayarit is well connected with other hubs in Mexico, via direct flights, such as as Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico City and Toluca by Aeromexico, Viva Aerobus, Volaris and Interjet, the latter also offering nonstop flights to Leon during the Summer vacation period. Other Mexican destinations require a layover, usually in Mexico City or Toluca. Aereo Calafia, a regional airline, offers direct flights to Mazatlán, connecting with La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, in Baja California.
Companies such as Superior Tours Vallarta excel at holding your hand, literally and figuratively, as you set out to explore Mexico. From VIP airport transfers to bridging the language barrier as you look for the perfect item at a Mexican mercado to custom trips handled by a private driver, Superior Tours offers a variety of trips and tours within and beyond Banderas Bay that will provide that extra sense of security, particularly if you are exploring Mexico for the first time.
Keep in Mind
- While English is most often spoken by locals fluently in Vallarta-Nayarit’s tourist areas, you may find that this may not be the case, as you distance yourself from Banderas Bay. Keep this in mind as you plan your getaways.
- Suburban bus service tends to be slow, as the buses make frequent, unmarked stops in small towns. Keep this in mind, if you are trying to get somewhere in a hurry.
- Traveling through Mexico (or any foreign country, for that matter) is best enjoyed through the eyes of a local resident. Whenever possible, schedule your explorations with someone who has visited your destination before.
- Like any large country, the best times of the year to visit certain cities are influenced by weather and specific events that may be taking place in them. Planning ahead by researching sites such as TripAdvisor always pays off.